Who would have guessed that sharing political confidences with a political foe — a conversation that upended the speaker of the Texas House — would have real competition for the biggest blunder a House member might make this year?

While trying to limit the annual growth of property taxes in Texas, the Legislature gave local governments an incentive to raise taxes nearly 8% this year. Maybe it was unintentional, but the state gave the locals a reason to raise property taxes faster than they would have without state action.

The Texas Legislature’s once-every-decade quest for new political maps will get a twist in 2021: The Texas House will have either a speaker whose trustworthiness is suspect or a brand-new speaker who’ll be riding in the wake of a scandal.

A school in Texas can fail to meet state education standards for four years before the state shuts it down. A lot of students can go without the education they're due in four years' time.

When longtime U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy died in 2009, an irreverent Texas political consultant predicted the people who raise money for the two major political parties would miss the famous Massachusetts Democrat. Democrats loved him and touted him as a champion in their appeals, while Republ…

The biggest change in the Legislature this session was the shift in who lawmakers fear most. Just a few years ago, the tea party put the most conservative factions of the Republican Party in the pilot’s seat. For several sessions, word that those restive activists were watching a vote could …

Here at the beginning of a week in which most bills in the Texas Legislature will die, the big priorities set out at the beginning, in January, are still alive: school finance, property tax reform, school safety and responses to Hurricane Harvey.

This is the kind of column that could have the shelf life of a ripe banana. It’s that time in a legislative session when things are in flux. Everything could change in an instant, with a change in the demeanor of a key senator or representative.

It doesn’t matter if you start on April Fool’s Day or 18 months ahead of a legislative session. It doesn’t matter if there was only one issue in the last election and voters have kept the heat coming. It matters, but only a little, when there’s a judicial order hanging over them. And it matt…

The desire to keep government open and transparent, so the rest of us can look in there and see what’s going on, is often in tension with the preference for secrecy common to people in high places — or low ones.

When political consultants were scouring the state’s 2016 election results two years ago, they found three Texas congressional districts where voters had kept Republican incumbents in office while also favoring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

The state’s top leaders spent the beginning of the legislative session talking about unity, comity and how they were on the same track, ready to work and even filing identical copies of important bills in the House and Senate.